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The field you can see here is what we might call a recolonised area. It was at one stage just a field, or empty site, but over time it has started to rewild a little bit. “First colonisers”, such as the blackberry brambles and the willow are the species that are quickest to exploit vacant niches, they tend to grow quickly and produce lots of seed, allowing them a head start against other species. Blackberries spread by extending their long canes up and out and when they touch the ground, root and send off more canes. It’s not exactly a sprint but it’s the closest a plant can come to walking. They may be a bit of an unwelcome visitor in a garden but many bugs, birds and beasts won’t say no to the fragrant fruits and flowers.
In time, the likes of oak, ash and sycamore may start to grow here, carried in as seed by the wind, birds or squirrels, and slowly but surely rise above the willow scrub, creating a new woodland. Not unlike leaving a slice of bread out for a while, if the conditions are right the life that's around, be it fungi or flora, just starts to grow on it. With a bit of management and time, natural habitats can begin to regenerate themselves.
Fun fact: You may have noticed that there are different types of blackberry brambles, with around 320 microspecies having been described in the British Isles, at least 80 of which can be found in Ireland.
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